The January Divorce Phenomenon

January 16, 2023

It’s a phenomenon that has been well-documented for more than two decades, but it still comes as a surprise to many—divorces spike in the month of January. That’s right, January is the most popular month of the year for couples to call it quits. But why is that?


It’s All About the Holidays


January divorces are often a direct result of couples waiting until after the holidays to make major decisions like getting divorced. Many people feel that they don’t want to disrupt their children’s holiday cheer by filing for divorce right before Christmas or New Year’s. It makes sense; no one wants to be around tension during what is supposed to be happiness and peace! With that in mind, many couples choose to wait until after the holidays have passed to initiate a divorce. This leads us directly into January being ‘divorce season’.


The Holiday Stress Factor


One of the major contributing factors to divorces in January is thought to be holiday stress. During the holidays, couples often find themselves spending more time together than usual, which can lead to increased tension and unresolved issues bubbling up. Add in travel, visiting family members, shopping for gifts, and all of the other financial pressures that come with this time of year, and you have a recipe for marital disaster.


Couples who decide to wait until after New Year’s Day before filing for divorce are likely hoping that they can get through one last holiday season without causing any unnecessary trauma or drama among their family members. After all, no one wants to ruin Christmas dinner by announcing their impending divorce proceedings!


Waiting For Tax Benefits


In addition to avoiding any holiday conflict, some spouses may also be waiting until after New Year’s Day in order to maximize their tax benefits. For example, when filing taxes jointly as a married couple in April 2023 (for 2022 tax returns), both spouses will need to agree on how deductions and exemptions should be allocated.


New Year, New You


For some people who have been considering getting divorced, the New Year brings with it renewed hope and energy towards making big changes- including ending a marriage. Sometimes these resolutions work out great- and other times not so much! But whatever happens at least those people took action towards something they believed would bring them more satisfaction or fulfillment in life. And that’s really the goal here; taking charge of your life to find your happiness.


It’s clear that there are a variety of reasons why divorces increase in the month of January each year; some couples might be attempting to avoid family conflict during the holidays while others may be trying to maximize their tax benefits during filing season. Whatever their reason may be, it’s important for anyone considering divorce in January (or any other month) not only understand why they’re making this decision but also know what legal steps they need to take next. A great place to start is to see what you can work out on your own.


The next thing is to begin working with an experienced attorney who can help make sure that she is with you through the divorce process and ensure that your divorce is finalized quickly and efficiently. If you can your soon-to-be-ex can work through dividing your stuff, your debts, who is getting the car, and time with the kids, you can put yourself on track towards a new beginning sooner rather than later.


If you have worked it through and are ready to make it final, reach out to my office either through my website or by calling me. I want to help you reach your new you, new place this year.